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Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves preview, Wednesday 7/19, 11:10 a.m. CT

The Cubs look to extend their winning streak to a season high.

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Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Fortunately, we are told by this forecast that there is only a “20 percent chance” of showers and storms after 1 p.m. local time today. If storms decide to scatter themselves over the Atlanta area this afternoon, let’s hope they scatter themselves somewhere other than SunTrust Park. The Cubs have Thursday off, but the Braves don’t, so they pretty much have to get this one in.

Turns out that the Braves might have built their new park in the worst possible Atlanta-area location for the multiple rain delays they’ve had:

Moving on from the weather: The Cubs can do something today that no Cubs team has done since 1935 — win their first six games after the All-Star break. Those wins were the last six of an eight-game winning streak that began when the ‘35 Cubs were 38-32 and 10½ games out of first place. From that 38-32 record that team went 62-22 and won the N.L. pennant by four games.

I’m certainly not expecting this year’s Cubs to do that. But I do believe they are ready to go on a long run of winning.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Jay RF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Happ CF, Schwarber LF, Baez 2B, Russell SS, Caratini C, Montgomery P

Braves lineup:

Inciarte CF, Camargo 3B, Freeman 1B, Kemp LF, Flowers C, Santana RF, Rodriguez 2B, Swanson SS, Dickey P

Mike Montgomery vs. R.A. Dickey

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

With any luck, this will be Mike Montgomery’s last start of 2017.

Oh, it’s not that I don’t like MiMo — I do. In the bullpen. All you need to know about him this year is contained in this split:

As starter: seven starts, 34⅓ innings, 1.485 WHIP, 5.77 ERA, four home runs, 14 BB, 32 K
As reliever: 19 appearances, 39⅔ innings, 1.311 WHIP, 2.50 ERA, one home run, 23 BB, 28 K

He’s better in every way as a reliever, except for the walks and strikeouts, and he must be making up for that in other ways, because the results are better. I look forward to him strengthening the pen.

R.A. Dickey has pitched very well over his last seven starts: 2.60 ERA, 0.978 WHIP, eight walks and 41 strikeouts in 45 innings, and that could be even better if not for one outing against the Nats in which he got pounded for eight runs in five innings. In the other six, he’s allowed one run or no runs.

Such is the life of a knuckleballer. Oddly, Dickey has not faced the Cubs since 2011, when he was with the Mets. No player from the 2011 Cubs is left on the team and Dickey only threw 2⅔ innings that day.

Current Cubs who have faced him: Jon Jay (3-for-9), Jason Heyward (5-for-19, a double, a triple, five walks) and Ben Zobrist (6-for-39, a double, a triple, a home run, six walks).

Those are odd numbers. And it is odd facing a knuckleballer; there’s rarely any middle ground. Dickey will likely either totally baffle Cubs hitters or they will crush him out of the game in the middle innings.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago. It’s also on MLB Network outside the Chicago and Atlanta markets.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

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The 2017 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2016. Here's how it works.

You'll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).

At the same time, a StoryStream containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.

You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in the game's StoryStream as noted above.

The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.

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